Press the Red Button

food facts.jpg
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
— II Peter 1:2-3

As I poured my heart out to God yesterday during my prayer walk, I pleaded with Him to give me what I needed to live a life that’s pleasing to Him. With my very next breath, a thought came to mind, reminding me of a show I had watched the evening before.

In the episode, the small-town sheriff underwent a performance evaluation unlike any he had ever seen before. When the test began, he opened the door to find himself in an empty room lined with white walls. As he neared the center of the room, a large red button appeared on the wall opposite him, and a voice filled the room, “Press the red button.” The sheriff laughed. “Is that it?” Immediately, all the floor tiles except the one on which he was standing fell away, leaving him standing on a pedestal, the red button several feet away.

After a few moments, a deck of playing cards appeared on the pedestal beside the sheriff and the voice declared, “Press the red button. You have all the tools necessary to complete the task.” The sheriff tried throwing one card at a time, hoping to strike the red button, but after a couple of cards, he noticed some of them were landing on an invisible floor in front of him. Using the cards to mark the tiles, he made his way to the red button only to discover he was still a foot from reaching it, even with outstretched arms. “Now what?” he cried. Suddenly, a container of straws appeared on the pedestal on which he was originally standing, forcing the sheriff to retrace his steps on the invisible flooring to acquire the straws.

After making his way back to the red button, he fixed the straws end to end to create a long, yet flimsy, poker. A mere inches from the button, his straw contraption collapsed, forcing the sheriff to rethink his approach. In the end, we see the defeated lawman sitting on the pedestal, holding the “quit” button given to him before the test with the instructions, “Push the button to quit at any time.” With his thumb ready to press, he has an epiphany, recalling the words of the voice in the room, “You have been given all the tools necessary to complete the task.” Confident, he stands up and throws the “quit” button at the large red button on the wall, striking it firmly. Stage one completed. Unfortunately, for him, he has many more steps to go.

I know, you’re probably wondering how my mind went from prayerful communion with God to this comedic scene in a sci-fi show. Honestly, I wondered myself when it happened, but then I smiled, knowing God was sending me a message. Through the memory, He answered my prayer. “Dana, you’ve been given all the tools necessary to complete the task.” I thought about it for a few minutes and realized how true the statement was. (Of course it was true. God said it, right?) God has already given me the tools I need to live a life pleasing to Him. I’m just not using them or not using them in the right way.

From that moment on, my prayer changed. I stopped asking God to give me the attributes I needed and instead asked Him for the wisdom to use those tools in the best way. Just as the sheriff used ingenuity to figure out how the playing cards and the straws could benefit him, so do I want to be more aware of how to apply the knowledge and gifts God has given me.  

What about you? Do you find yourself praying for things God has already given you? Do you ask for grace, strength, comfort, power, or faith? Do you plead with Him for these things then feel disappointed when nothing changes? My friends, you already have all the tools you need to live an abundant life. God has already blessed you with everything required to accomplish the tasks before you. The one thing you should ask for is the attribute God instructs us to ask for: wisdom. Wisdom to identify the tools at our disposal. Wisdom to determine the best and most appropriate ways to use those tools. Wisdom to look beyond our own preconceived notions of how things should be and see what is truly possible when we use God’s gifts God’s way!

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
— James 1:5